The Government of Canada announces new measures in force with passage of Budget Implementation Act to modernize marine protection and safety as part of the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

July 12, 2023                    Ottawa, Ontario                    Transport Canada

There are more vessels and goods being transported on Canadian waters than ever before, helping to grow our economy and create good middle-class jobs to build an economy that works for everyone. New approaches and innovations are changing how we ship goods through our waters and Canada’s marine safety system must also evolve to continue to protect Canadians and the environment.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that with the passage of Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act, new legislative changes to help the Government of Canada protect our oceans are now in force. This includes new measures to strengthen marine safety, respond faster and more effectively to more types of marine pollution, to take action on abandoned boats in our waters, and to provide better compensation for communities impacted by a spill.

Three acts - the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Marine Liability Act, and the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act – have been amended as part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan to strengthen marine safety on our waters. These changes will:

  • Provide faster access during incidents to port and emergency services, such as marine firefighting and emergency towing;
  • Reinforce the preparedness and response to marine incidents that involve hazardous and noxious substances, in addition to oil. Vessel and facility operators will be required to report hazardous and noxious substance spills and have response plans;
  • Strengthen enforcement of safer navigation by all vessels;
  • Introduce penalties for companies such as importers, manufacturers, and retailers of pleasure craft if they do not attach proper identification information and serial numbers to boats;
  • Establish a Vessel Remediation Fund to finance activities that will assess, address, and prevent problem vessels from becoming hazards to navigation; and
  • Improve the compensation available after a spill for all types of harvesting including fishing, hunting, and gathering of Indigenous traditional medicines, and expand the amount for future losses.

The legislative changes are in response to feedback from Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians while partnering to advance the Oceans Protection Plan.

The Oceans Protection Plan is a Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, scientists, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan will keep our oceans and coasts healthy, advance reconciliation, and build a clean future for our children and grandchildren.

Quotes

“All Canadians are benefiting from Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, which is making marine shipping safer, increasing protections for our marine species and ecosystems, and improving how we prevent and respond to marine incidents. Today’s legislative changes will keep Canadians and our oceans safe by strengthening our marine safety and response regime, ensure those polluting our waters are held more accountable, and improves access to compensation for those impacted by spills.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“These legislative changes are key to the Canadian Coast Guard’s work in addressing hazards posed by problem vessels and putting more accountability on vessel owners. The new amendments will mean a safer marine environment for all Canadians to enjoy while lessening the financial impacts of marine hazards.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • The legislative changes are part of the Government of Canada's Budget 2022 commitment to provide $2 billion over nine years to renew Canada's Oceans Protection Plan and expand its work into new areas.

  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has dedicated $3.5 billion to the Oceans Protection Plan, making it the largest investment Canada has ever made to protect its coasts and waterways. Since its launch, the Oceans Protection Plan has:

    • significantly increased emergency response capacity with Indigenous-led Coast Guard Auxiliaries, emergency tow kits, new vessels, equipment, and training on all three coasts. Six Coast Guard stations in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, and a seasonal inshore rescue boat station in Nunavut were opened to improve our ability to respond to marine incidents.
    • modernized Canada's Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund so that the polluter pays, that unlimited compensation is available to those affected and that funding and compensation can be issued quicker.
    • funded over 500 projects to remove or dispose of abandoned vessels across the country and made it illegal to abandon a boat in Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
nadine.ramadan@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

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